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  • Writer's pictureGail Debono


Updated: Dec 12, 2021

How refreshing Mr Zizek & thanks for sharing Dr. A! … As a smoker, who was very capable of quitting from day 1 of my pregnancy, and who is immensely looking forward to my first smoke hereafter, I finally feel like someone out there understands why. Do I know the dangers of smoking? Of course I do! Do I choose to enjoy smoking anyway? Yes I do! … I only stopped when I realised I was gambling with my child’s life.. which to me was unacceptable (although I’m not shunning pregnant mothers who keep smoking, nor am I condoning their actions, I simply think that what they do is none of my business).

So please, enough with the you-managed-to-quit-for-9-months-why-are-you-going-to-start-smoking-again-bullshit. I didn’t quit. I just didn’t want to expose my unborn child to my unhealthy choices. This is why I feel drug use should be decriminalised, together with possession for personal use. Criminalise selling drugs to minors, educate the people on their effects, exercise harm reduction, but for pete’s sake, let the people be. This world could do with a little bit of a live-and-let-live-attitude, particularly for us Europeans for whom Belgium decides the size and shape of our bananas.

I am a hedonist… and it feels so good!

Slavoj Zizek: “I totally reject the simplistic idea proposed mostly by conservative critics but also by some hedonist liberals that we live in the hedonist era where basically you can enjoy in whatever way you want. Yes, but, at the same time, this enjoyment is strictly regulated, controlled, deprived of its, let’s call it passionate excess, like sex . . . yes, but safe sex.

What is the model of today’s hedonism? A couple of days ago flying here, I read some airline journal that you get, and it had a long text praising sex but in a way which was totally depressive. It said, “Make love as often as you can because it’s good for your blood circulation. It strengthens your heart.” Then it had even an obscene theory how if you kiss a lot, especially French kisses, it’s good to strengthen your jaws, your mouth, and so on. This is a terrifying vision.

The only true hedonists, I think, are today, two kinds: drug users and cigarette smokers. And you see how under total pressure they are. (To avoid the misunderstanding, I don’t smoke. I say screw the companies, tobacco companies.) But nonetheless, there is something deeply symptomatic in our horror at the chain smoker, as if what bothers us is his/her enjoyment, as if you see there is a guy who has a singular passion and he’s ready to risk everything he has for pursuing that passion.

I find this rather nice, if you ask me.”

Interviewed by Megan Erickson

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